Can too much screen time affect a child’s brain?
(WXYZ) – If your child spends too much time in front of a screen, it could be affecting their brain development.
Scientists have now revealed a link between screen activity and a child’s intelligence.
We know kids love their media, how did the screen time affect the kids?
Screen Time Research
You know I’m a Dad and I find this a bit alarming. I think parents really need to pay attention to how their kids are spending their free time.
Now in this study over 4,500 US children between the ages 8 and 11 took part. The researchers looked at three guidelines: are children limiting their screen time, getting enough sleep time and physical activity. And they found children who spent less than 2 hours in front of screens, who slept 9 to 11 hours and did 1 hour of physical activity had the sharpest intellects. They scored higher on thinking, language and memory tests. And their ability to reason was also much better.
And what’s so shocking is that only 5 percent met all 3 guidelines. And 30 percent didn’t meet one of them. On average, the researchers found that children spent 3.6 hours every day in front of screens. And this could be wrecking their ability to focus and stay tuned into completing a task.
Do sleep and exercise affect children’s intelligence?
Sleep is a time when the brain grows and also reorganizes memories. If you lack sleep you can suffer from lower alertness and concentration. Exercise can lead to larger brain volume, in particular, the areas associated with thinking and memory. So both of these can really help children do well in class and also on tests. I suggest to parents to limit screen time to 2 hours or less a day, make sure kids get between 9 – 11 hours of sleep a night and one hour of physical activity a day. Learn more about how touchscreen toddlers get less sleep here.
How much screen time for children?
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not set media recommendations for children 6 and over. Instead, they recommend to “place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.”
- The AAP recommends kids under the age of 18 months to avoid media unless it’s video-chatting. And children 18 to 24 months should only watch high-quality programming with their parents.
- Children need to be physically active for about an hour every day. Too much media can lead to a “cascade” effect where children are not sleeping enough. They are then less active during the day, and a sedentary lifestyle can negatively affect health.
- School-age children need 9-11 hours of sleep, teens need 8-10 hour and preschoolers need 10 -13. Sleep helps children recall information they’ve learned, it’s needed for building memory.
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Data pulled from WXYZ